Storm Photos

Storm's Weekend of Basketball

Kevin Pelton, | December 11, 2008

Offseason? What offseason? The Seattle Storm participated in or hosted three basketball-related events last weekend, and offers a complete recap of all the action.


Storm Head Coach Brian Agler shares his philosophy.
Storm Photos
More than 50 coaches from virtually every level of amateur basketball - 10-year-olds all the way up to community college - came Saturday morning to The Furtado Center, the Storm's practice facility, to hear from three standouts in their field. The three-hour Storm Coaches Clinic featured Storm Head Coach Brian Agler; Tia Jackson, the head coach of the University of Washington women; and Shoreline Community College Head Coach Butch Estes, a former assistant at Miami.

The three coaches each spent the better part of an hour explaining a segment of the game and detailing their philosophies. Agler started things out by detailing the defensive system which helped the Storm lead the league in opponent scoring during the 2008 season. Using a practice squad which just happened to include Storm guard Sheryl Swoopes, Agler walked the coaches through defensive assignments as well as a variety of drills he uses on a daily basis with the Storm to reinforce the principles of his defense.

Even for someone who has the opportunity to watch practice on a regular basis, it was a revealing look at the thinking behind Agler's drills.

The entertaining Estes then took over, focusing on special situations at the end of games. He explained how his coaching style has been developed over the course of his career, starting with the opportunity to work under the legendary Dean Smith as a volunteer assistant coach during his time as a student at the University of North Carolina. Estes walked through a variety of scenarios at both ends of the floor emphasizing how to come back from a late deficit - a Smith trademark throughout his career - or maintain a lead.

Lastly, Jackson went over a number of the warm-up drills she uses with the Husky women. Throughout, Jackson emphasized the importance of establishing good shooting form and being able to shoot from a variety of locations. She also revealed her belief in the importance of a positive mentality, as expressed in the phrase she wants players thinking on big shots: "In yo' face!"

In addition to the chance to learn from their peers on the floor, coaches in attendance went home with a manual offering further detail on Agler's philosophy and had the opportunity to win Storm prizes at the end of the clinic, including autographed t-shirts and posters.

Swoopes signs autographs for young fans. /Storm Photos

Sheryl Swoopes with Sonics legend Detlef Schrempf.
Storm Photos

Sheryl Swoopes just canít get enough basketball. It was just a normal Saturday for the WNBA legend as she kicked off a busy month of Storm events throughout the Puget Sound community. After greeting the participants and assisting Coach Agler with some drills at the Stormís Coaches Clinic this Saturday morning, Sheryl made her way to Bellevue High School for an appearance at the Les Schwab Tipoff Classic high school basketball tournament.

The Storm superstar signed autographs during halftime of the boysí championship game (host Bellevue defeated Renton 58-57 to win the tournament) and then presented Colton Christian of Bellevue with the Seattle Storm Player of the Game award and Joseph Hollifield of Renton with the Tournament Sponsorship award. After the game, Sheryl took time out to say hello to Sonics legend Detlef Schrempf, whose son Alex competes for Bellevue.

Earlier that morning, Lynsey Sandum of Inglemoor received the Seattle Storm Player of the Game award and Carly Cahill of Bellevue received the Tournament Sponsorship award. Meanwhile, the Storm Dance Troupe treated fans to performances during halftime of both the girlsí and boysí championship games.

Oh, and Swoopes? After the end of the game, she moved on to even more basketball - watching her son Jordan play for his team.
- Laura Sgrecci, Storm senior marketing and promotions manager


More than two dozen girls basketball players from Seattle-area high schools had a chance to practice layups for a good cause Sunday afternoon during the Northwest Literacy Foundationís Layups for Literacy event at Seattleís Roosevelt High School.

Layups for Literacy was founded three years ago by Roosevelt player Sis Odlund and Holy Names player Chelsea Gonzalez as a way to raise money for Seattle Public School libraries. Participating players received pledges for each layup made, with all proceeds going directly to book purchases. The Northwest Literacy Foundation will administer book buying and coordinate delivery of the books next spring.

The Storm helped sponsor this yearís event by providing a visit from Doppler, staff volunteers to tally layups, and a dozen practice basketballs that served as prizes for participants. In addition to Odlund and Gonzalez, this yearís event co-chairs were Kari Luttinen of Seattle Prep and Kyra Ray of Lakeside High School. Bishop Blanchet High School players also participated in the competition.

Founded in 1988, the Northwest Literacy Foundation is a non-profit, all-volunteer based organization, built of professionals and literacy specialists. The Foundationís mission is to provide vital resources for local youth literacy programs, public libraries and schools. To date, the Foundation has placed more than 120,000 books in public school libraries.
- Teresa Wippel, Storm director of communications and community relations

John Odlund of the Northwest Literacy Foundation is surrounded by his daughter Sis Odlund and her friend Chelsea Gonzalez, left, who founded Layups for Literacy, and this year's event co-chairs, Kari Luttinen and Kyra Ray. /Storm Photos